TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For 30 years, Gospel Rescue Mission Tucson has made sure those who are homeless or in need are treated to a warm holiday feast.
Weeks of preparation for the 31st annual Thanksgiving Banquet wrapped up Tuesday night and, this year, things are little bit different.
Instead of holding the event in South Tucson, the meal will be held inside the Center of Opportunity, located at 4550 S. Palo Verde Road.
“Raining or not, they can come here, it will be inside, it will be warm,” said Victor Hightower, public relations and outreach coordinator for Gospel Rescue Mission Tucson. “Last year, we served 2,458 meals — that was 140 turkeys. We have cooked 160 turkeys this year.”
Volunteers will be in at the crack of dawn Wednesday, re-heating hundreds of pounds of shredded turkey, stuffing and gravy. The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain will also drop off pies and rolls.
It’s going to take 400 volunteers dishing up, serving and washing plates to pull off the banquet.
“Nobody should have to eat their Thanksgiving meal out of a dumpster,” Hightower said.
For Vanessa Moreno, a guest who’s been staying at the Mission Rescue Gospel women’s shelter for about four months, the meal makes her feel more secure.
“I feel at peace here, I feel at home,” said Vanessa Moreno. “I’ve been homeless for eight years, so I’m working on getting my place back."
Moreno is also working to get her children back. With the help of Gospel Rescue Mission, she said this holiday is full of blessings.
“I’m grateful to be a parent, to be a part of this community,” she said. “I am grateful [Mission Gospel is] going to have a Thanksgiving here.”
Hightower says if there are leftovers, that’s no problem.
“It’s always better to have a lot more than to run out,” he said. “With 309 beds [at the men’s shelter] that’s almost 1,000 meals a day, all of that stuff will get used!”
Anyone in need is welcome to enjoy the Thanksgiving Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 27, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
No additional volunteers are needed for this event. However, volunteers are needed other times of the year. Food and cash donations are always welcome.
For information on how to help, visit: www.grmtucson.com/contact